Think Urban, Think Cambridge!

Reason #593 to live in the valley: We have food trucks too!!


The story is a common one: Average Joe becomes disillusioned with his job as an IT consultant/sales executive/insert-your-job-here, decides he loves his mother’s pizza recipe enough to quit his day job and start his own food truck. Maybe this fantasy explains the sudden growth of food trucks in the Valley, a scene that exploded a year or two after the economy tanked.

But why are people using trucks? The words “food” and “truck” together conjure visions of the “roach coaches” of the past. However, today’s food trucks have gourmet beginnings – typically a chef or foodie who wants a restaurant but simply can’t afford it – like Giancarlo Alarcon of the Aji Mobile Foods truck .

“Being that I just finished culinary school not too long ago, I don’t have $250,000 (to open a restaurant),” he says. So his father used his retirement funds to back Alarcon, and now they’re slinging pan-Latin American sandwiches all over town.

Valley foodies are embracing the movement. Last October’s Phoenix Food Truck Festival attracted thousands of guests. There were more than a few kinks, including long lines and trucks running out of food, but the absence of top-down organization and corporate monotony are part of the appeal of truck eating, even if it makes them a bit difficult to find.

All trucks belong to the Phoenix Street Food Coalition, which works to organize meet-ups and boost awareness. Within the coalition are some unofficial subgroups. For example, it’s almost always the same group of trucks at the Phoenix Public Market’s Food Truck Fridays. That’s a large and thus exclusive event for new trucks to break into, so a group of those newer trucks banded under the name Streat Fleat Regime and founded District Food, a meet-up outside the vintage Phoenix Seed and Feed. The building is fully equipped with free parking, a huge shaded patio, massive fans and a rotation of trucks. All you need to do is travel to “the other side of the tracks” to get, as they call it on Twitter, “#foodtruckwasted.” Who could say no?

So step outside your down-the-street-sandwich-shop comfort zone and find one of these 15 most-prominent food trucks in the Valley. Each truck’s regular locations are listed, but all are subject to frequent change. It’s wisest to follow your favorite truck on Facebook and Twitter for the most up-to-date schedules.

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